Jim woke slowly, staring at the ceiling in his bedroom in the old farmhouse in Riverside. He didn’t know what time it was but judging by the sunlight it was late morning already.

He sighed.

It wasn’t like he had a lot of reasons to get out of bed anyway. He lived alone and felt more aches and pains in his bones due to misuse in his Starfleet days. He was nearing seventy-five and had retired some years ago.

A lot of his friends or old crew members had passed away, Bones and Scotty among them. He hadn’t spoken to Spock in years, but as far as Jim knew he was on New Vulcan.

He supposed he should get up and get some coffee. Breakfast. Lunch from the looks of it.

Grimacing at the creaking of his joints, Jim sat up.

“About time.”

Jim jumped. Standing by the window was a strange man wearing red robes and a strange purple hat.

“Who are you? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”

The man smirked. “You’re in better shape than you think, Kirk. You can call me Q.”

“I think what I intend to call you is a fugitive from law enforcement as I’m about to notify them there’s an intruder in my house.”

Q laughed. “You could do that, but then you give up the opportunity to change your life.”

“Change my life?”

“You had the chance to tell that Vulcan how you really felt right after your birthday party on Yorktown, but you held back and never did. The question you have is what would have happened if you had told him and I have the answer.”

“How did you—”

“Never mind that. I’m omniscient. Do you want the chance to relive your life with that moment or not?”

“You’re crazy.”

“No doubt about that. But that’s beside the point.”

Jim frowned. Shook his head. “If I changed my life, that would change everything that happened after that moment.”

“Yes. And there’s no guarantee that confessing your feelings will have the outcome you hope either.” Q shrugged. “What have you got to lose?”

“Some good things have happened since then,” Jim protested. “All that would be changed?”

“That is the chance you take in all things James T. Kirk.”

“If I could—”

“Done.” Q snapped his fingers.


Jim woke, staring at the ceiling of his bedroom. Above his head was a starscape, painted expertly with twinkling bright stars. The room was still dark, though a tiny bit of light shone through a gap in the curtains by the window.

The door opened to the bedroom and Jim turned his head in that direction.

“Good, you are awake.”

A light came on and Spock walked toward him, carrying a steaming hot cup of coffee. He handed it to Jim as Jim sat up. Spock then went to the window and opened the curtains fully.

“It is another fog shrouded day in San Francisco. Good morning, Jim. Would you prefer pancakes or waffles for breakfast?”

“Pancakes,” he murmured, taking a sip of his coffee. He felt…disoriented, but he wasn’t sure why.

Spock nodded. “You are teaching a class at the Academy in an hour. I will prepare your breakfast while you shower and dress.”

He smiled. “Thanks, sweetheart.”

Spock’s lips twitched. “You are welcome. And Leonard is still coming for dinner tonight. I received his confirmation.”

“Okay.” He nodded absently and took another sip of coffee. He had a feeling he was missing something, something had changed, but he couldn’t figure out what, and in the end, he didn’t care.

He shrugged, rose, and got ready for his day.